Pierre’s most awkward meeting this week happens tomorrow morning, January 20, when Senate Judiciary meets at 8 a.m. in Room 413 of the Capitol to hear Senate Bill 81, Senator Helene Duhamel’s (R-32/Rapid City) proposal to revise the definition of sexual contact.
Current sex-offense statute (SDCL 22-22-7.1) defines sexual contact as “any touching, not amounting to rape, whether or not through clothing or other covering, of the breasts of a female or the genitalia or anus of any person with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of either party.” Senate Bill 81 reorders and enumerates terms, but it also adds “buttocks” and “inner thighs” to the state’s recognized erogenous zones.
Federal statute already includes buttocks and inner thighs as areas of sexual contact. The federal definition of sexual contact also includes the groin, which is left out of SB 81. Under federal law, sexual contact encompasses the touching of any person’s breast, not just that of a female. And while South Dakota law limits the intent behind sexual contact to arousing or gratifying sexual desires, federal law includes intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade any person through the such touching.
Want to make Senate Judiciary really awkward tomorrow? Let’s get someone to ask Senator Duhamel why her bill still leaves South Dakota with more permissive sexual contact laws than the federal government.